Online campaign aims for linguistic equality: activists

One of their demands is that ‘Hindi Divas’ be replaced by ‘Bharat Bhasha Divas’

The resistance to Hindi imposition and a call for equal status for all languages is a hot topic in Southern states. With Hindi Divas approaching soon, a recent social media campaign is demanding equal treatment for all languages. 

From September 5, Twitter and Facebook have been seeing a lot of posts with the hashtags  #WeDontWantHindiDivas and  #WewantBharatabhashadivasa. 

The campaign was started by Rupesh Rajanna, Gnan Madhu, Vijendra K N,and Balaji, among others, who are members of the activist group ‘Karunada Sevakaru’.

Rupesh points out that the campaign is not against Hindi. “We are just opposing the imposition of the language. The hashtag campaign, meant for all Kannadigas, aims to send out a message that we will not support a special day just for one language. If a celebration is required for September 14, it can be for all the languages.”  

Karthik V, customs clearance professional and a supporter of the campaign, echoes the thought that the campaign doesn’t intend to incite hatred against Hindi.

“From banks to railways, all entrance examinations are given in Hindi or English. It is a clear case of favouritism for Hindi. It is like a mother with 22 children favouring and feeding just one child,” he says.

Campaign supporter Arun Javagal, a member of Banavasi Balaga, points out that Article 343 to 351 gives special status to Hindi.

“It says that there should be progressive use of Hindi and English should slowly be weaned off. One cannot fathom the need for this in 1950s. In the current situation, the centre should consider allowing people to take government examinations in all languages,” he says. 

He adds that members of the Parliament should also be able to speak and communicate in their respective languages without seeking special permission.

“It is surprising that we were ready to spend crores of money on the promotion of Hindi as an official language in the United Nations. This amount could have been used wisely within our parliament for technology that will help our representatives communicate better,” he says.  

Stressing on the need for such a campaign, Vijendra K N, a civil engineer, says, “If the Constitution of India approves of 22  languages in the country, why is only Hindi given a special status? The official language of Karnataka is Kannada and there is no point celebrating Hindi Divas here. We are also pressing for an amendment of Article 351, which was a directive for the development of the Hindi language.” 

Kiran Kodlady, IT professional, also agrees with the fact that the campaign is against linguistic inequality. “Has one ever heard of the union government setting aside money for the betterment of one specific language?” he questions, adding that if the country has to observe a special day on September 14, it should be for all languages. 

Pallavi Idoor, a businesswoman and social activist, points out that a “special day for Hindi was set up years ago to establish a single communicative language in the country”. 

“In our federal system, all our states have their identities. We always identify ourselves according to the community we hail from and as Indians after that. It is important to maintain the identities of each of these places, which is why the campaign demands a ‘Bharath Bhasha Divas’, so that every language is given due importance,” she says. 

FACTFILE

Hindi Divas is celebrated by the Union government on September 14. Presentation of awards in the field of Hindi and several other events aimed at promoting language are held on the day.

 

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